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Geneticist Lis elected to National Academy of Sciences

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Melissa Osgood
John Lis

John Lis, the Barbara McClintock Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, is one of 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2015.

Lis’ lab develops and uses many strategies to study the structure of promoters (a region of DNA that initiates transcription of a particular gene) and genes and their regulation in living cells. Lis has developed methods to use heat shock genes, which are found in many organisms and protect cells from damage when temperatures rise above a threshold, to study basic genetic processes. By applying heat and experimenting with heat shock genes, Lis and colleagues have revealed fundamental regulatory mechanisms that occur during transcription. More recently, he has shown the generality of these mechanisms with his lab’s newly-developed, genome-wide assays of transcription.

Lis received a doctorate in biochemistry from Brandeis University in 1975. His postdoctoral work at Stanford University focused on drosophila gene regulation and chromosome structure before he joined the faculty at Cornell in 1978.

Lis received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000 and is also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

NAS is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes outstanding science through election to membership; publication in its journal, PNAS; and its awards, programs and special activities.

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